Eight Week Sneak Peek: Found in Flame and Moonlight

Found in Flame and Moonlight Banner Eight Week Sneak Peek

Hello, fellow readers.

Release week for Found in Flame and Moonlight, the final installment in the Highland Legends series, is fast approaching.

Excited?

We sure are. {vibrates}

To tide us all over till then, we’ve brought you an Eight Week Sneak Peek…

 

(Part 1) Eight Week Sneak Peek:
Her POV

Eight minutes was all Chelsea Smith had. All she needed. Hopefully.

The heavy wooden door to Professor MacLaren’s private office snicked closed behind her. With a subtle suggestion from her mind, the tumblers reengaged within its lock, a deadbolt she’d “picked” with similar mental ease mere seconds ago.

On her next inhale of cooler undisturbed air, the distinctive scents of age washed over her: that certain spice of centuries-old leather, a mustiness of layered dust, the sweetness of yellowing paper in a prized collection of ancient books.

The room’s furnishings echoed its owner’s passion for antiquities. Within a sizable entry, a vintage coffee-colored Chesterfield sofa with matching wingchairs hovered at the edge of a burgundy-and-gold Aubusson carpet. Along the side and far wall, relics from exotic locales perched from various niches between precisely stacked scholarly tomes in massive bookcases. And beyond a sizable polished wood desk and its stately leather chair, within tall display cases that flanked a large window, treasured discoveries from historic digs rested on glass shelves.

Yet one particular artifact stood apart from the rest. The sole reason for her break-in. And the item occupied the nearest corner of his polished wood desk, exposed. No bookcase niche. No protective case.

“Such unfathomable power,” Chelsea murmured toward the rectangular object, at once fascinated and intrigued. More than she’d been about anything in her first twenty-two years of an immortal life hiding-in-plain sight among “normal” humans.

Her excitement even eclipsed what she’d witnessed from the other side of that window while walking to MacLaren’s lecture less than an hour ago.

Though her mind still reeled about that discovery as well.

Because something very not human had stood near that power-drenched box, partially transparent, as if not fully materialized into the human world. And that shirtless muscular something had resembled artistic depictions of male angelic warriors, only skewed darker and more sinister with its dusky olive skin, inky black wings, and blue-green prismatic eyes.

And the enigmatic creature had stared directly at her, eyes narrowing, puzzlement twisting his sharp features as Chelsea blatantly stared back. He’d seemed surprised. That she could detect him? Or perhaps that their paths had intersected in the first place.

Yet inside the professor’s locked office, no sign of the dark angel remained.

Seven minutes.

The forceful vibration of the artifact’s unique power was what had caught her attention from the other side of the window. It had radiated an exhilarating and complex energy, beckoning her like a siren’s call.

“Invitation accepted,” she whispered.

With slow breaths, Chelsea banked her excitement. Not hard to achieve. Her kind, further evolved humans, born-and-bred assassins, had been trained through millennia to suppress emotion.

“Yeah.” She let out a soft snort. “Look how well that turned out.”

Members of her race had recently evolved again. And an underground faction had organically formed. One that no longer sought to squelch their emotions. That strong minority yearned for something greater, a deeper meaning to their eternal life.

Months ago, Chelsea had been secretly contacted by them. The founders had detected her tendency to operate on the fringe of acceptability. Of course, she’d joined their cause without hesitation.

In the hours and days following that pivotal decision, she’d eased the cognitive restraints that had hobbled her. They had warned her that she would suffer unimaginable internal struggle. Yet nothing had prepared her for the cascade of emotions. One in particular had caused an enormous dissonance with her inherited vocation.

Empathy had bled into her black-and-white world.

An assassin’s world.

And that problematic emotion had caused a thunderstorm of chaotic gray.

Six minutes.

Focus, Chelsea. She took measured steps toward the charged artifact, noting its unusual features. A foot long, half that wide and tall, a rectangular box sat encased in layers of elaborate metallic latticework. The gleaming designs that adorned its corners and edges were comprised of various metals from differing artistry. But beneath those ornate motifs, simpler flat sides were fashioned from a beautiful bluish-silver metal with a slight sparkle to its sheen.

Indirect bright light glowed in from the large window, but as Chelsea approached, an aura of energy haloed around the box. Infinitesimal particles glittered beyond its surfaces, flashes of silver and gold visible to her preternatural eyes.

Five minutes.

Which meant MacLaren’s lecture in his beloved Advanced Theories in Archaeology had concluded. Earlier, Chelsea had obediently endured the graduate-level course with fifteen other classmates until she’d politely excused herself at the last and most opportune moment. A correct amount of respectful time from a valued student. The perfect window of plausible deniability should her burglary plans go awry.

Students typically waylaid him after his lectures, but to be certain, she extended her superhuman hearing. Down a wide sidewalk between buildings, across a grassy quad, and into the cozy window-lined room that the tenured professor claimed as his own, she detected the voices of eager students who had indeed detained him. Which enabled him to wax eloquent about the week’s series and his latest obsession: prehistoric artifacts handed down by gods, breadcrumbs to the secrets of mysterious civilizations.

“But you’ve been keeping the biggest secret of all right here in your office, haven’t you?” Chelsea murmured as she paused within reach of the object.

Four minutes.

Plenty of time to abort, to walk away without detection.

“I don’t need to be here.” Sound reason.

And yet, need had become relative.

For in the months following her recent evolution, an undefinable hunger had begun to grow that nothing satisfied. A craving for a deeper purpose. Not the deadly one mandated by her ancestry. Not even the glimmer of hope that her emerging faction offered.

“Something personal,” she murmured, staring at the box. She’d been hunting a cause that matched her sudden passion for life. Unique and special. Sparked by her newfound awakening. “Worthy. And all my own.”

Because every action she’d taken in life, from actual missions to basic periphery cover, had been by her race’s directive. Even attending university. Particularly MacLaren’s courses.

But for the first time, she operated on her own volition. Because before that morning, she hadn’t been privy to any details of why MacLaren had become a person of interest. Until one shining detail had made itself known, flashing its undeniable energy straight toward her.

Therefore, the risk of exposure? While investigating an object as exceptional as what she hoped to discover about herself?

More than acceptable.

While she continued to listen, the distinct voices of six fellow grad students dwindled to two hardcore disciples. They peppered the professor with questions, theories, and offers of assistance on his next expedition. Groveling, as usual. But MacLaren had their number. And only a couple of minutes remained of his scheduled patience.

Chelsea drew a deep breath to calm her riotous—clearly not suppressed—emotions.

Instinct screamed the intricate box held her destiny. Even if she had no idea why.

But as she took a final step and reached out a hand to touch, its unique power reacted to her proximity with accelerating vibrations of energy—plenty of evidence to back up that gut feeling.

Three minutes.

MacLaren shooed out his fan club with his parting excuses and locked up the classroom.

Right as Chelsea hovered a hand over the artifact.

Energy emanated upward from that bluish-silver top, charging the air with electrons that sizzled and sparked. Warmth bathed her palm. Friendly. Inviting. Intoxicating.

Until a sense of grave danger spiked in those scant inches between the mysterious metal and her skin. And an unfamiliar feeling of trepidation tripped down her spine. Like some cosmic warning.

Chelsea paused, then blinked heavily, thrown by the sudden unfriendliness of the box and her own emotion about it. She wiggled her fingers within the box’s charged aura and considered her impulsive actions. And their unknown ramifications. With the artifact. And MacLaren.

An extensive list of potentialities scrolled through her advanced mind. But the calculations magnified when she removed the laws of the known universe and input alternate realities. Involving energized boxes. And dark angels. And supposedly regular professors that capture the attention of a race of assassins.

Ninety seconds.

“So many possibilities,” she murmured about the upside. Too many variables to calculate.

Chelsea snorted and shook her head with a slight smile. “I’ve never been afraid of anything in my life.” Headlong into the adventure. The only way she saw the world.

The leather heels of MacLaren’s loafers clicked down the nearest sidewalk.

Less than a minute. Before her trespass was discovered.

Urgency fired through her veins. She tensed her arm and lowered her hand, ready to touch no matter the outcome. To finally complete some circuit she’d begun to sense, as if the dark matter hovering between the spaces in the universe needed her help.

The charged air rippled with a stronger dose of caution.

Chelsea narrowed her eyes at the box.

Are you trying to communicate with me?

That the inanimate object had sentience, as opposed to some other force out in the ether, gave her pause. Deadly animals and insects often displayed vivid warnings of their lethal venom.

But why lead me here with such clear invitation? Do you not want me to touch?

The warning vibration wavered back and forth in response as the additional questions crossed her mind. Not quite a yes, not quite a no. That it wanted her there, perhaps. But not to touch? Orrr

“Not yet?” Barely an inch existed.

A hot glow sparkled into existence between her and the artifact, golden and shimmering. The box’s energy extended an exquisite representation of agreement in its special language.

“Fascinating.” Mesmerizing.

The artifact’s seductive power continued to astound.

Have you taunted MacLaren with such scandalous invitation?

No sooner had she posed the mental question, than an answer rippled forth. Only that message vibrated not from the artifact, but from somewhere out in the ether. No. Crystal clear. Not as any legible word, but a negative in resonance.

The energized box did not wait on that desk for the professor.

At that moment, the artifact existed for a singular purpose: to join its immense power with hers.

MacLaren’s footfalls began to click down the tiles of the building’s corridor.

Energy spiked from the box again. Even while its power rippled another caution: Not yet. The message clearly vibrated from the object, not the ether.

But unraveling the mysteries of a higher consciousnesses in matter and space had to wait.

Adrenaline surged through her. “Out of time.”

Golden sparks fountained up from its metallic top, singeing her palm. Not yet!

“When?” Chelsea choked out a laugh at the box. “After he has campus security cuff me?”

MacLaren’s key slid into the lock.

Her pulse raced, the thump of her heart a drumbeat in her ears.

Now or never! she argued to the unseen gatekeepers.

Tiny clicks echoed as tumblers released in the lock’s mechanism.

The door edge scraped over its frame, the only means of a clean escape swinging open and her window of opportunity closing right along with it.

Half-assed alibies spun through her mind, all utterly ridiculous: I followed a burglar in, I needed to lie down and only your pin-tucked sofa would do, I saw a black-winged angel with sparkling blue-green eyes staring out your window. Voicing that last factoid? Bordered on certifiable insanity.

But at the last split second between clean infiltration and utter discovery—right as her anxiety skyrocketed—a powerful vacuum slammed her hand down that remaining inch.

A scorching current charged up through her palm from the metal. Blinding power and incredible pleasure flashed through her being.

MacLaren’s office vanished.

And a realm of absolute nothingness descended.

Stay tuned next month for
(Part 2) Four Week Sneak Peek:
His POV


Cover of Found in Flame and Moonlight
Preorder Yours Today!Releases September 14, 2020
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Heartbreaker on Goodreads

Title: Found in Flame and Moonlight
Series:
 Highland Legends, #4
Cover Designer:
 Stephanie Mooney
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Medieval Romance, Time Travel
Release Date: September 14, 2020


About
FOUND IN FLAME AND MOONLIGHT:

Kat Bastion returns for the final installment in the award-winning Highland Legend series… Found in Flame and Moonlight.

Under siege by monumental forces, a magickal castle unites a medieval laird and a twenty-first-century assassin to save it. But will the two headstrong souls survive each other?

Gawain Brodie has hardened his heart to women. Certain that females only bring heartache, the warrior focuses on battles and strategy as one of his clan’s elite guard. Until two things are thrust upon him: the rule of his clan and a fiery sorceress as his mate.

Chelsea Smith has grown up in Southern California, one of the rare few belonging to a secret group of assassins. Trained to shun emotion, and expert in harnessing Earth’s elemental power, she has a bright future ahead of her within her shadow organization. Until time itself decides her only future lies far in the past.

Neither is happy with the arrangement. Yet both see an opportunity for adventure. And pleasure. No emotions. All adrenaline. And while they’re at it, save a magickal castle from disappearing. Permanently.

What could possibly go wrong?

*** Found in Flame and Moonlight is a standalone full-length romance told in dual POV. Due to mature themes and adult language, this book is for those 18 and older. ***


Other standalone books in the
Highland Legends series:

If you or your friends have yet to discover the magickal Highland Legends series, now’s the perfect time to enjoy the award-winning and bestselling books…

Forged in Dreams and Magick Cover      Bound by Wish and Mistletoe Cover      Cover for Born of Mist and Legend

Found on all your favorite retailers!


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Stay tuned next month for (Part 2) Four Week Sneak Peek: His POV.

Thank you for being a part of the excitement with Found in Flame and Moonlight. We’re looking forward to sharing Gawain and Chelsea’s incredible romance with you.

Your humble shoe and boot,

~ Kat & Stone

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© 2020 by Kat Bastion and Stone Bastion

One thought on “Eight Week Sneak Peek: Found in Flame and Moonlight

  1. […] a four week sneak peek in Gawain’s POV? Here’s a link if you missed last month’s Eight Week Sneak Peek: Her POV, which comes first, as a Part […]

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